Guests: Alex Bryan and Paddy McCoy
This week, the lesson focus is on motivation for witnessing. Most would agree that ideally, one should share the message of Jesus because they want to, not because they feel that they have to. But what if we don’t want to? And what if our desire to share comes from motivations that are less than pure?
- The Adults Sabbath School Study Guide begins this week’s lesson by suggesting that there is “right motivation” for doing the Lord’s work and that there is danger in “working with the wrong motivations.” However, two weeks ago in these Study Guides, we noticed Paul’s words in Philippians 1:5-18. There, the apostle Paul writes that some are preaching Christ “out of envy and rivalry . . . not sincerely, supposing that they can stir up trouble for me while I am in chains.” But Paul continues, “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this, I rejoice.”
- So, exactly how important is our motivation?
- What are some of the most dangerous “motivations” that often creep in when it comes to witnessing and evangelism? How can these be avoided?
- If we wait to do something until our motives are pure, would we ever do anything? Aren’t human motivations always a blend of both altruistic and ulterior impulses?
- Should I refrain from doing something I know I should do, simply because I know my motivation isn’t good?
- The Adult Sabbath School Study Guide suggests that the Christian’s motivation for witnessing should be love.
- Is love always the best way to motivate someone?
- What is it about love that is motivating? In other words, how would a love for God motivate us to share?
- Did Jesus always use love as motivation? What should we do with passages such as Luke 12:4-5, where Jesus says, “I will show you who you should fear: Fear him who, after your body has been killed, has authority to throw you into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him.” Immediately after this, Jesus continues by telling us not to be afraid ( vs. 7)
- How do we reconcile a verse such as Luke 12:4-5 (above) with John’s words that “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment” (1 John 4:18)?
- In Matthew 21:28-31, Jesus tells a parable of a man with asks both of his sons to go work in the vineyard. One says he will go, while the other said he will not. The son who agreed to work did not actually work, while the one who declined the father’s invitation ultimately changed his mind and did work for his father. Jesus concluded the parable by asking, “Which of the two did what his father wanted?” For me, this passage hints at the fact that God may want my obedience, regardless of how I feel about it. In John 14:15, Jesus says, “If you love me, keep my commands.” This means, then, that instead of fretting about my motivations, I should seek to obey. Why do I obey? Because I love him. So, because I love him, I will do things I don’t love to do!